Climate-resilient plants

What leads farmers in climate-vulnerable countries to adopt climate-resilient crops?

Photo: John Wambugu via USAID.

Climate change exposes our food systems to increasing and potentially devastating risk. Less predictable and more extreme weather—from droughts to floods—increases farmers’ costs. Exposure to loss threatens domestic production in many developing countries to the point of imperiling their food security, and increasing the risk of disruption to international markets.

As the unpredictability and extremity of damaging weather increases through climate change, there is an urgent need to find climate resilient crops and crop varieties, and for decision-makers to promote them.

Biological diversity is a critical line of defense in the midst of this uncertainty. But which crops and which traits are best adapted to changing conditions? What are the characteristics that define a “climate-resilient” crop, how widely have they been adopted, and how successful have new varieties been in the face of extreme weather events? This evidence synthesis will look at 30 years of research to answer these questions.

Research team

Maricelis Acevedo

Maricelis Acevedo

Lead author, Associate Director, Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat Project, Cornell University

Biography

Livia Bizikova

Livia Bizikova

Director, SDG Knowledge, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Biography

Karen Cichy

Karen Cichy

Research Plant Geneticist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.

Kate Ghezzi-Kopel

Kate Ghezzi-Kopel

Health Sciences and Evidence Synthesis Librarian, Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University

Biography

Sisi Meng

Sisi Meng

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Keough School of Global Affairs, Notre Dame

Biography

Abebe Menkir

Abebe Menkir

Maize breeder, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Biography

Kevin Pixley

Kevin Pixley

Director, Genetic Resources Program, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Biography

Jaron Porciello

Jaron Porciello

Co-director Ceres2030, information scientist, David R. Atkinson Center for Sustainable Development, Cornell University.

Biography

Hale Ann Tufan

Hale Ann Tufan

Project Manager, NEXTGEN Cassava Breeding Project, Cornell University

Biography

Nkulumo Zinyengere

Nkulumo Zinyengere

Climate Change Specialist, the World Bank

Biography

Research protocol

The full details of the the protocol for this evidence synthesis are available on the OSF open platform run by the Center for Open Science.

This is one of eight evidence syntheses selected by Ceres2030 to help decision-makers choose the best interventions to achieve the UN's Sustainability Development Goal of "Zero Hunger" by 2030 (SDG 2).

Ceres 2030 is a partnership between Cornell IP-CALS,  the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the  International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)

Technology assessment

Author team, question, protocol

Photo: John Wambugu via USAID.

Author team

Maricelis Acevedo

Maricelis Acevedo

Lead author, Associate Director, Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat Project, Cornell University

Biography

Karen Cichy

Karen Cichy

Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University

Biography

Kate Ghezzi-Kopel

Kate Ghezzi-Kopel

Health Sciences and Evidence Synthesis Librarian, Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University

Biography

Sisi Meng

Sisi Meng

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Keough School of Global Affairs, Notre Dame

Biography

Abebe Menkir

Abebe Menkir

Maize breeder, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Biography

Kevin Pixley

Kevin Pixley

Director, Genetic Resources Program, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Biography

Jaron Porciello

Jaron Porciello

Co-director Ceres2030, information scientist, David R. Atkinson Center for Sustainable Development, Cornell University.

Biography

Hale Ann Tufan

Hale Ann Tufan

Project Manager, NEXTGEN Cassava Breeding Project, Cornell University

Biography

Nkulumo Zinyengere

Nkulumo Zinyengere

Climate Change Specialist, the World Bank

Biography

Evidence synthesis question

What are facilitators that lead farmers in climate-vulnerable countries to adopt climate resilient crops?

 

Background

For all countries, but especially those that still rely on domestic agriculture production for food security, one of the most critical and proactive measures  to cope with food insecurity caused by unpredictable weather patterns is for farmers to adopt climate-resilient crops. In this review, we will first define climate-resiliency traits based on a review of the literature before we explore the social, technical and regulatory factors that have led to the successful adaptation of farmers’ willingness to adopt new CR crops. We will look for primary qualitative and quantitative research that describes where and how new CR crops have been introduced and adopted. We will also look at the relationship between extreme weather and whether disaster is correlated to the introduction of new varieties in addition to farmers’ willingness to adopt. We will look at literature from the past twenty years, where the documented impacts of climate change started appearing in the literature.

Protocol

Ceres 2030 is a partnership between Cornell IP-CALS,  the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the  International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)